Military Solution to Terrorism Doomed? Military Presence Could be the Solution, If…

The following is a response to Deepak Chopra and Ken Robinson’s recent editorial:

By Col. Brian Rees, Dr. John Hagelin and Dr. David Leffler

We agree, mostly, with Deepak Chopra’s and Ken Robinson’s editorial, "A military solution to a war on terrorism is doomed." However, there is one more important area that must be addressed in order for their proposed strategy to work quickly. They hinted at it when they wrote, "The chief reason to remain in Iraq and Afghanistan, once we entered and found chaos, is humanitarian…" Although the following comparison is not entirely applicable, we must remember that the US military deployed to Somalia for largely "humanitarian" reasons. Although sent in as a friendly force to restore order, later, due to the "chaos" they were reviled and persecuted by many civilians who had earlier pleaded for their help in delivering and safeguarding their lives, food, and supplies. This indicates that humans are motivated by dynamics that are beyond the ability of just our diplomatic and economic muscle to control.

Violent extremism is a human problem requiring human solutions. The underlying cause of extremist social violence that often thrives in chaos is accumulated social stress. The US armed forces need a proven method to reduce the collective societal stress in hot spots like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Peer-reviewed scientific research indicates that the best way to reduce collective societal stress, eliminate extremism and thereby snuff out war and terrorism is to adopt an ancient strategy. In modern times this strategy is called Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) and was revived by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in a non-religious manner. It has been quietly and successfully used in the past by members of many faiths to eliminate conflict.

Contracting with IDT civilian experts or creating Prevention Wings of the Military could achieve this goal. These special units would be trained in IDT and collectively practice IDT’s ancient technologies of consciousness–the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi programs–in large groups, twice a day.

Extensive research shows that the size of the group needed to reduce social stress in a given population should exceed the square root of 1% of the population size. For instance, Iraq would need approximately 544 soldiers and Afghanistan approximately 572 soldiers as trained IDT experts.

Studies show that when these thresholds are exceeded, quality of life indices go up, and crime, war and terrorism abate. Scientists named this phenomenon "The Maharishi Effect" in honor of Maharishi, who first predicted it. For instance, a day-by-day study in the Journal of Conflict Resolution (1988, vol. 32, #4, pp. 776-812) of a two-month-long coherence-creating assembly in Israel showed that, on days of high attendance by IDT experts, war deaths in neighboring Lebanon decreased by 76%. A follow-up day-by-day study in the Journal of Social Behavior and Personality (2005, vol. 17, #1, pp. 285-338) of more than two years showed that during seven different coherence-creating assemblies, war deaths in Lebanon decreased by an average of 71%.

Over 50 studies have shown that IDT works. The causal mechanism has been postulated to be a field effect of consciousness — a spillover effect on the level of the unified field from the peace-creating group into the larger population. On this basis, a study in the Journal of Social Behavior and Personality (2005, vol. 17, #1, pp. 339-373) additionally offers a proposed explanation of causality of IDT in biological terms. Research conducted on the powerful neurotransmitter serotonin shows that it produces feelings of contentment, happiness and even euphoria. Low levels of serotonin, according to research, correlate with violence, aggression, and poor emotional moods. The IDT study showed that higher numbers of IDT experts correlated with a marked increase in serotonin production among other community members. These results were statistically significant and followed the attendance figures in the IDT group. This finding offers a plausible neurophysiologic mechanism to explain reduced hostility and aggression in society at large.

IDT has also been documented worldwide in a study published in the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation (2003, vol. 36, #1-4, 283-302) using data provided by the Rand Corporation. When large assemblies of IDT experts exceeded the Maharishi Effect threshold for the world during the years 1983-1985, deaths due to terrorism globally decreased 72%, international conflict decreased 33%, and violence was reduced in nations throughout the world without intrusion by other governments.

The armed forces are responsible for protecting the nation’s citizens, and are obligated to thoroughly examine realistic, scientifically validated methods for ending war and terrorism. Militaries are funded and its personnel are paid to perform their duties to protect their nations. Ultimately, it is the duty of our elected representatives to give the military the tools it needs to eliminate the collective stress fueling terrorism worldwide. Just because a military solution to a war on terrorism is doomed, it does not mean that militaries cannot apply IDT as a scientifically-verified means to reduce the societal collective stress that is ultimately responsible for social problems like crime, terrorism and war.

“Quality of life in Israel, including intensity of the conflict in Lebanon, improved in direct proportion to the number of Invincible Defense Technology experts in the coherence-creating group. A short online video featuring Dr. John Hagelin explains this finding.

About the Authors:

Colonel Brian M. Rees, M.D., US Army Reserve, a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, is a graduate of the US Army War College, and is currently Deputy Command Surgeon, 63rd RRC, Los Alamitos, California.

John Hagelin, Ph.D. is a Harvard-trained Kilby Award winning quantum physicist who appeared in the feature films The Secret and What the Bleep Do We Know?

David Leffler, Ph.D. a US Air Force veteran, is the Executive Director at the Center for Advanced Military Science,


  1. This is possible. As a military brat, I spent years of childhood in Europe in military overseas bases. Post WWII, the US seemed to have gotten at least a few main ideas right. The American forces in Germany during the 1950s and 1960s did act as a stabilizing force and were central to helping the country rebuild. By the late 1970s and 1980s, the Germans really no longer needed US bases there, at least not in the large numbers we had. So it worked; US forces helped stabilize the region, leading to an eventual peaceful pullout.

    The situation in the Arab world is far different. We are culturally and religiously more separated than from the western Europeans. And the situation is different. We are not victors assuming responsibility for the defeated in this case.

    Instead we are imposing ourselves on vibrant self-contained cultures whom we have a very questionable past history with (and so they regard us with deep suspicion), and who are not going to suddenly embrace our religious or spiritual practices.

    Starting meditation programs in these countries is a noble idea. Whether the military is the best vehicle for this I am not sure. Perhaps the military has the training facilities, and of course, if they order some of the soldiers to learn meditation they will do it (no doubt it would be considered a "cherry" assignment compared to most TDY assignments and would therefore attract many willing applicants).

    I would like to see more studies than just the one or two cited. And remember, the studies sited took place in Israel (a close US ally) whereas now you are talking about setting up TM shops in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Consideration should be given to the fact that Islam has its own mystical side, and has its own traditions of meditation (particularly Sufism) which will use language, techniques, and music that the Arabic world is already comfortable with. However, in much of the Arab world, Sufism has a history of being suppressed. My speculation is that this is because the Sufi mystics have historically not responded well to government or religious control, and so have a reputation of being rebels or heretics.

    And I know that Deepak is big TM evangelist, but I would strongly advise caution about just dispatching him over to Iraq to set up some TM shops.

    Namely, TM is not the only meditation game in town, and their may be other technologies that will get a far better response from Arabic peoples. The danger is that they are likely to see as some foreign spirituality being imposed on them through occupiers that they already have serious issues with. Particularly with religious extremists, there are likely to be serious security issues, and you risk that the locations and the IDT people themselves may become targets for the jihadists. If they feel their religion is being challenged, this could provoke very serious responses, both in terms of violence, and in terms of the so-called "PR war".

    And there is the issue of doing it through the military. Are you saying the same people that have ransacked the Iraqis homes and arrested (or killed) the men in their families now are suddenly going to show up and teach them to meditate?


    How about getting the roads rebuilt, the energy infrastructure repaired, and the schools going again?

    Or did we already screw up that plan by giving bags of cash to Halliburton and Blackwater executives who then proceeded to slop things up withe "heckuva jobs" that they did over there with no real oversight or law enforcement to keep them in line?

    It's noble idea, as is the province of big thinkers like Deepak, but I think we need some serious reality checks in place before we simply proceed with yet another idealistic noble scheme pocked full of holes that fails the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, and ends up serving to just help a few well-connected people hash out their big ideological concepts on the local populace.

    I think they got enough of that under the Bushies.

  2. Very interesting. I am convinced from my own experience that what you are promoting is a timeless human method for affecting change in a peaceful and loving way. While I usually disagree with Yogi his comments above are pertinent. Certainly your ideas should receive greater exposure and consideration. In my humble opinion Sufism is the true Islam, and Sufi mystics should be included in any effort to raise consciousness in this part of the world. The Sufi history of rejecting violence and reaching out ot other spiritual groups especially to Jews, makes them perfect for this task. An Islamic world that embraces the Sufi way would also be an Islamic world that rejects terrorism and violence. The mystics of all the world's traditions have more in common with each other than with the dogmatists of their own tradition. The obvious reason is that there is a true Source of Love and Light that underlies all spirituality and that mystics who experience this Source on a personal basis will no longer embrace violence and dogma.

    love and light,


  3. Deepak, thanks for posting this :-). Someone sent the Huffingtonpost edition of this reply to me.

    I think it should be tried out.

    Born in Germany I as a child of the first generation after WORLD WAR II I still could feel the aftermath of this war and what has lead to it in the generation of my parents and this way also in my childhood and youth. My mother had to work as a young girl in a factory producing rockets (that was called "Arbeitsdienst" and every girl had to do some kind of work like this), she had to take psychiatric medicine all her life, my father served as a soldier in France and was sent as prisoner to England. As 5th grade in school we started on to read literature, i.e. novels, short stories, poems on this terrible time in German history, and then existentialism, Sartre, Albert Camus, Kafka. It was a very hard and dark time in my life. I was balancing on the edge of an abyss. Even as an afterwar generation child I did expereince the destruction of communicative competencies, the destruction of souls, the destruction of human life, the destruction of respect, of noble virtues through the war and all what had happened before which led to the war and in Germany after the war. With all this my sister committed suicide.

    As a young woman of 18 years old I learnt TM and it really did tremendous good to me.

    It slowly melted away the trauma, depression, desperation, exhaustion and helped me to get on with my life. The face of war is cruel anywhere and everywhere. If we can prevent it or end it and dissolve all the darkness, trauma, aggression, hate and violence in human souls we should do so – the earlier, the better.

    I think I would not have survived without having learnt TM. This is a strong statement and I am happy that most people do not have to start with TM for those reasons anymore. They start for different and more uplifting reasons. And that is good.

    I can only say: Let's put an end to the heritage of wars and violence and trauma.

    This is a workable way as I can attest personally. It should be tried. Of course it should be optional. Amongst many other ways of creating peace – why not get this implemented too?

  4. It is fantastic to hear people from the military field speak about peace. If the military of any country decides to become a force for peace, it will be a huge step forward. From there, there are many ways to peace.

    As a first and most important step, the soldiers need to become aware of and committed to their mission as creators of peace. They need to learn to meditate and increase their connection to the core of inner peace. But besides that, as every soldier would have an intention for peace, they would surely welcome training in other skills needed, like nonviolent communication, multicultural awareness and communication skills, etc. With this, the whole pattern of energy of an army would change from sharp destructive aggression to powerful outpouring of life.

    From there, it would spread naturally. As the local population would feel the truth of such a lifegiving attitude, they would want to learn and participate. They would be met with terms appropriate to their context, by soldiers who can connect in universal human terms and not by pushing any kind of religious or nationalist dogma.

    Of course soldiers can be healers. What a wonderful world we can create.

  5. I feel that we are working in the right direction when we take the "quantum" approach, based on the knowledge that it is inner development, a change in consciousness that will change our reality in the long run, not physical actions.

    We must also remember that we must be careful as the authors above noted of forcing a simple solution on a complex situation.

    Here is another interesting look at this issue:

  6. I'm very interested to see new approaches to these extreme situations. While I don't fully grasp the solution presented in this article, I'm glad to see people thinking about new approaches.

  7. Yes, I have highlighted many of those points, including those related to biochemistry in the comments and in the infinite play over the past 3 years. With a large emphasis on the wide spread magnesium deficiency that results in serotonin shortage, depression, agitation, and aggressiveness, which further aggravated by many other factors contributing to imbalance.

    Based on my input, insight, and prediction an experiment was recently done involving locusts. I sort of compelled them to do it with the thought that they might discover a drug to control the locust swarms that are coming, of course as usual they didn

  8. The part missing above. Which you would know if you were really digesting it.

    The empirical evidence shows that , Serotonin, the brain chemical that's fired up by things such antidepressants or Vitamin C, Tryptophan, and Vitamin B6, converts normally solitary desert locusts into sociable, swarming insects, capable of mass destruction of crops. In other words it changes them from independent isolated separatists into a unified happy oneness moving on concert all connected. So they are thinking that they might create something to block the serotonin, and prevent locust swarms. This of course would create imbalance because the locust swarms are a natural part of the balanced process, or we might even say the

  9. Dear Richard,

    The Human Brain is the most complicated and complex "thing" in the universe except for the universe itself. What neurobiology has discovered is that each of our brains is incredibly unique based upon how we use our brains. Serotonin is but one neurotransmitter amongst many. It is of course very important but our brains do not work in isolation but in community. Oxytocin is also part of this picture. Oxytocin is a neuromodulator released in the hypothalamus. For Star Trek fans, the hypothalamus is to the brain as Engineering is to the Enterprise. In other words, the hypothalamus which is not under conscious control is the part of the brain that determines many many things. Oxytocin released in the hypothalamus makes us feel beautiful and loved. It also is the only way for the brain to erase previously learned neural nets. Oxytocin is closely associated with love and orgasm, which is why LOVE is the most powerful way to change one's brain. It is also associated with cooperation and cooking.

    Richard, you are a very smart man and obviously there is great truth in your comments and postings. Certainly economics plays a very large role in how the world is run. We as human beings definitely need to create a new system, or to greatly modify the present system. Meditation and especially combining meditation and sexuality as I do in my path of Tantric Kabbalah, described in Everywoman a Goddess: Everyman a Hero in Her Service, is very important to creating a change in human consciousness.

    I believe that our current Economics reflects a very old form of consciousness, the consciousness of patriarchy. Once consciousness is changed Economics will also change as a reflection of the new evolution in Human Consciousness. War will disappear and so will the Economics that create War.

    love and light,


  10. Meditation is not to ru away from action but to prepare for action. Except ou use the monk's type of meditation. There ar two paths – the contemplative path of people who choose to nourish the value of silence and peace and the path of the active woman and man and then meditation helps to gain more success in life. The Bhagavad Gita, ancientclassical text on Yoga philosophy and meditation, talks already about Dharma, doing your mission in life, your allotted duty, the duty that is natural to you. And to fulfill one's mission in life is a very cherished ideal. There are two layers to "mission" – (1) evolve, unfold your potenital, i.e. develop to higher states of consciousness, (2) live yourself, fulfill your innermost calling, whatever it is – be a mother, do anything to improve the life of fellow human beings, invent, support, whatever. Everyone feels and knows what is his or hers. And if not then meditation can help you to find out what is your special and unique calling.

  11. Three Cups of Tea – great Initiative and book by Greg Mortenson who built 4 girls' schools in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan…. very touching, sweet and amazing what one man can accomplish!!!

    But it's not enough… Give those girls a method to unfold their self-confidence and their creative potential with meditation and you will make them stable to make their way in a difficult and uncertain world (hostile in many respects particularly to girls and females). Also, you will change the world, the environment in which these girls will live to a peacful place (read more below). Girls and women face an unsafe and threatened future and are often oppressed and subdued.

    Look to the CIDA example. CIDA university, the first ubuntu university in Johannesburg, South Africa, was orginally founded by Taddy Blecher and Richard Peycke, both teachers of Transcendental Meditation. Taddy Blecher was on the verge of emigrating from South Africa when he took a second look at his native country. "I saw aching poverty," he said, and he made a life-changing decision to do something about it. With tremendous idealism Taddy and Richard founded this university (CIDA City Campus) in 1999 totally on the basis of donations and gave young disadvantaged youths from the townships a chance to earn a four-year business administration degree. CIDA has produced 1,800 graduates with potential lifetime earnings of $635,000 to $1.5 million who teach and sponsor other students.

    But the great success started because Transcendental Meditation was a daily part of the curriculum.

    Look at
    and read:

    Slowly however meditation was pushed more and more into the background and cancelled out of the curriculum by administrators and sponsors who gained more and more influence and were biassed against meditation.

    Taddy who had brought this school up and pushed it forward and earned world acclaim by many institutions and reputed individuals, amongst them Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Virgin founder Richard Branson and others increasingly felt dissatisfied with the new direction and he and Richard Peycke withdrew from the school, their brain child, more and more – and started a NEW one: the Maharishi Invincibility School of Managment in Johannesburg:

    This school was recently donated a truly magnificent 4 000 hectare Nature Reserve, the Ezemvelo Nature Reserve, by SA mining magnate Nicky Oppenheimer and his wife Strilli. Also, Russell Simmons, famous founder of the hip-hop label Def Jam and creator of the clothing fashion line Phat Farm, visited newly founded Maharishi Institute – see:

    and is supporting them with his Diamond Empowerment Fund.

    Can students create a peaceful future for themselves?

    Absolutely. Research shows that a school with a few hundred meditating students is enough to significantly defuse tensions in a city, and a school with a few thousand meditating students can measurably reduce social tensions for the nation. Repeated studies also show that a group of 8,000 advanced meditation experts is enough to defuse social tensions on a global scale, markedly reducing violence and conflict in critical hotspots throughout the world. That is why the plan is to establish a group of 2,000 meditating students in Washington, D.C., followed by a second group of 8,000 meditating students elsewhere in the U.S. (Original studies are available online at

  12. This is wonderful article, and, as Dr Hagelin once said, "War begets war, peace begets peace." This is such an obvious concept yet it has somehow eluded humanity for centuries. We cannot expect to eliminate war by using violence and nowhere has this become more apparent than the Middle East and Afghanistan where people have been suffering for generations. But it is our good fortune that a solution is here. The scientific evidence speaks very clearly, group practice of Transcendental Meditation and the TM-Sidhi program reduces stress in the individual and society as a whole, creating harmony increasing peaceful tendencies and decreasing violence. It is high time for the world to embrace these solutions. For additional information on TM and its ability to create a peaceful society click on Transcendental Meditation & World Peace, and